IFAs: The Human Touch Still Counts

by | Jul 27, 2016

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Brown Shipley

A new study shows that when it comes to IFAs and their clients, there’s still value in the human touch, despite the rise of digital channels and robo-advisers.

The study was commissioned by Investec & Wealth and the main conclusion is that face-to-face meetings remain the most valued client communications channel, despite the growth of digital and social media alternatives.

Advisers say that the majority of time spent communicating with clients is through face-to-face meetings, whilst two-fifths of IFAs predict the portion to be over 75%.

Yet the future could see some changes says the report, with nearly one in four advisers predicting the amount they do will fall off over the next five years compared to 10% who think they will do more. The majority think the number of meetings will remain the same.

Another development highlighted by the report is that three-quarters forecast email will become more important over the next five years, whilst a quarter predict they will be conducting more remote meetings through such channels as Facetime and Skype. Interestingly, and despite their high profile, only 5% of advisers think that LinkedIn and Twitter will become more important as client communications channels.

Mark Stevens, Head of Intermediary Services, Investec Wealth & Investment, said: “The majority of long term relationships between intermediaries and clients are built around delivering face-to-face advice and the research underlines this will remain the case for the foreseeable future.  That said, advisers recognise the growing popularity of digital and social channels how these can be used positively to strengthen their relationships but not act as a substitute for face-time.

“While face to face client meetings are a key part of an adviser’s role, they often leave little time for other important activities such as investment management.  This is where good quality discretionary investment managers can play a pivotal role in helping advisers to focus on responding to their clients, many of which will be facing an increasingly complex set of financial planning challenges in the years to come.”

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